Pakistan using its unique geo strategic location to promote peace, stability, economic cooperation in region: PM Aziz
23 May, 2007
ISLAMABAD: Located at the confluence of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia Pakistan is using its unique geo strategic location to promote peace, stability and economic cooperation in the region, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said.
Talking to Mr. Massimo D`Alema, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Italy who called on him here Tuesday, the Prime Minister said peace and harmony are important prerequisites for development and prosperity and Pakistan is making sustained and systematic efforts for conflict resolution at the regional and global level for a more secure and peaceful tomorrow.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan believes in resolution of outstanding issues through negotiations and dialogue. Pakistan, he said, is committed to the process of composite dialogue with India and want a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue.
On Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said Pakistan is assisting Afghanistan to achieve peace, progress and stability which is in the interest of people of Afghanistan as well as the region because the events in Afghanistan have a spill over effect for the region.
Talking of Middle East the Prime Minister emphasized the need for more focused and concerted efforts by the international community to solve the festering disputes in Middle East. Peace in Middle East affects global peace and Palestine issue needs to be solved to provide a homeland to the Palestinians, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan is against terrorism and is playing the role of a frontline state in war against terrorism in our own national interest and to make the world a more secure place to live.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need for eliminating the root causes of terrorism, which stem from injustice, deprivation, lack of opportunities and lack of voice.
He said there are visible and invisible stakeholders in Afghanistan and Middle East issues and all of them need to be involved in the process of conflict resolution.
The Prime Minister said Islam is a religion of peace and propagates tolerance, interfaith harmony and compassion. He said that the widening gulf between various faiths needs to be bridged through dedicated efforts by religious scholars, leaders and people belonging to all religious groups.
Talking of the reform agenda of the government the Prime Minister said Pakistan has became a model in the developing countries and the reforms introduced in every facet of life have changed the economic and social landscape of the country.
He said in the economic sector the size of economy and per capita income has doubled and poverty has declined by ten percentage points.
In the political sector, he said democracy has taken roots in the country and is maturing and it is for the first time in the country`s history that the Parliament will be completing its tenure by the end of this year.
He said the government is also committed to holding general elections in the country which are due by the end of the year. The elections, he said, will be free, fair and transparent and open to inspection by national and international observers and media. All political parties will also be free to contest them.
Talking about women empowerment, the Prime Minister said that the affirmative actions taken by the government have provided economic, social and political empowerments to women and they now enjoy a better status in society.
Mr. Massimo D`Alema appreciated the high growth and development taking place in Pakistan.
He appreciated the efforts made by Pakistan for peace and stability in the region.
Mr. Massimo D`Alema appreciated that relations between Pakistanand Afghanistan are improving and said coordination between the two countries will contribute to peace in the region.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan values its longstanding friendly relations with Italy, which are marked by goodwill, cordiality and cooperation. Frequent bilateral interactions at different levels are a manifestation of keen desire on both sides to strengthen relations.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan, Mr. Roberto Mazzotta and senior officials attended the meeting among others.